D&D (2024) Maybe this is a bit late, but let's talk about Rogue's Niche, and What Rogue Should Be.


When it comes to game, "did you have a great time" absolutely is one of the core design tenants. Is class fun to play? Yes.

No, rogue wasn't best dpr, wasn't best tank, he wasn't really best at anything. He was second best at all things. Best secondary fighter, solid defensively. Rogue's strength lies in it's versatility. He has something to do in every pillar of the game. 6 skill total (plus any from race), 4 of which you can put expertise on, is solid. Are bards better? Mostly, yes. 5e Bards are S tier class. One major weakness for Rogue is that SA is once per round. Give it SA on all attacks ( off hand, AoO) and it get's even better. Also, if we count GWF for fighters in DPR, give rogue Sharpshooter. Combine it with Assasin subclass. With expertise and high dex, at level 4 you have +8-9 to sneak. Surprise attack is advantage and crit. So with hand crossbow, your rogue gets (1d6+2d6)x2 (double all dice on crit) + 14. Thats nasty for opening round. Stay back and shoot them. Don't know why we insist that rogues need to get into melee. That's what heatshields are for.

Also, with scout, you get 2 skills with automatic expertise on them. Now you have rogue with 8 skills, 6 with expertise.

Tbh, expertise on sleight of hand is useless. There are better skills.

log in or register to remove this ad


rogue class is over glorified feat(s)

expertise? prodigy+skill expert,
more skills that every other class? Skilled
scout subclass? prodigy+skill expert

arcane trickster? magic initiate+fey touched+shadow touched+some to be feat for giving 3rd and 4th level spells, gated by character level.

sneak attack; PF1 has a feat for +1d6 sneak attack, so 5E full feat can be +3d6 sneak attack or +1 ASI +1d6 sneak attack + expertise

skill monkey should really be decoupled form dedicated class. it's a subclass at best or just your selection of feats that should be available to all characters.

The longer I spend on ENWorld, the more I come to realize classes are a mistake...


The longer I spend on ENWorld, the more I come to realize classes are a mistake...
they are not mistakes, they are a very useful tool, especially for new players,
I see classes as just a bunch of pre selected feats that follow some kind of narrow or wide theme.


I guess our biggest disagreement lies in the part of "Rogue was good". It is only good for tables without Feats, and only "feels" good to some players who only care "Oh I throw a lot of dices at a time!"

To me, and to so many players who do pay attention to "what's happening in the game" and the "boring math", Rogue was never good. It was the weakest class in 2014 and still is in 2024. Especially in 2014 where -5/+10 lived, the lack of Extra-Attack basically means a death penalty to a class who can't cast. When you're hiding and trying to get a shot that does a 20+DPR, your Ranger or Fighter or whatever Martial teammates are killing the dragon with 50~60+DPR each, with -5/+10 and advantages from your Casters.

I know this is the part where you and some players might start arguing that "B-But Rogues are for Out of Combats!", but com'on, this is a game that 80% of the contents are about combats and most official adventures are also stuffed with combats, combats, combats and combats. Is it really a good idea to design such a class in such a game? No. This is kind of an outdated designing philosophy that doesn't suits the current playstyle and the actual game.

Even if we talk about "Out of Combats", I still see no reason why two more skill proficiencies would suddenly turn Rogue into a "Out of Combats Master". Two more proficiencies only means you're only better by 10~15% of chance in passing a check than other characters who happened not taking those skills or happened not having the main stats for those skills, which normally you'd be having three teammates. The only differences lies in Expertise, which a Rogue often has to Expertise in Sleight of Hand and Thieves' Tools to make themselves useful enough, otherwise you are also not better than other characters who happen the needed stats, and still you'd be having 3~4 teammates normally.
Especially Mundane Skill Checks like Perception, Investigation, often could be rolled by all the party members in most adventures. Does the team successfully find something basically has nothing to do with the Rogue since you're not significantly good at these skills and "One Pass, Everyone Passed", rolling a N15 isn't that rare for 4~5 players.

I also don't see how could a Rogue could be count as "designed for Out of Combats" when Bards are there. Hell, Bards can do a better "Out of Combats" with JoAT, Expertise, and Spells, while doing a similar even higher DPR, safely with a Long Bow at level 6. After all they have the Valor Bard which grants them Extra-Attack while 2014 Rogue have none.

I know some may argue again "The Reliable Talent!", yeah, but, how many campaigns really reach level 11? According survery made by DNDBeyond, almost none.

So yeah, to me, and to many many players who felt the same thing and see the same thing, Rogue was never good in 2014, and still weak in 2024. You may feel good and had a great time and the DMs were allowing you to do blah-blah-blah, but the "boring math" and game desiging won't lie. What a class can do can be valued objectively through how much damage they could do and how much things they could achieve, and Skills in 5e is absolutely weak compared to spells, in an out of combats, while Rogue's damage also sucks.

Yes, Rogue is weak in 2014.
I know it might be hard to accept for some players who didn't pay much attention to the numbers, balancing, and "optimizations". I had my great time of playing Rogue too. In a great party, with a appropriate story, sure it could brings us fun, but game designing isn't about "did you had a great time", cuz you might have your fun, but not for many others. Game designing is about balacing without assuming the whole campaign is suitable or not. It's about "how to make players still having fun even if the campaign isn't specifically designed for them".

You make a lot of assumptions about me and blah blah blah boring system math. I've done the math, perhaps the issue is that I've done the math with a different baseline? Because I won't argue that PAM+GWM fighter is going to blow rogue damage out of the water, and rogues don't have a similar damage increasing combo. But we could crunch the numbers for longbow, or longsword and shield, or just GWM and the Rogue is not doing nearly as poorly. Yes, making a single shot that everything rides on hurts, and in that respect, the DPR can be increased with extra attack by simply making it more likely the rogue will land a hit. But that doesn't raise their ceiling by an appreciable amount, it just makes their average better.

I do want to note as well, this isn't purely martial with the -5/+10 you are talking about, but ALSO adding "advantage from casters". Perhaps you add that same advantage to rogues? I don't know, your post is unclear. But unlike the martials who needs the casters, Rogues can consistently generate their own advantage. Additionally, the GWM feat was balanced out. It now doesn't spike as high with advantage and is more reliable without it. This will lower the martial damage and make the rogue better by comparison.

Also, I note one of your complaints is Reliable talent coming online too late. They fixed that. It is supposed to come on by level 7 now, more in line with people's play experiences.

So, if we take some of these numbers... let's say level 11, max ability score, greatsword fighter, PAM fighter, and Rogue with a single d8 weapon. Baseline 65% to hit, adv gets 87.75%.

2014 Greatsword ~ 41.42 w/adv, 26.4 w/o adv
2014 PAM ~ 49.57 w/adv, 31.6 w/o adv
2014 Rogue ~ 26.76 w/adv, 19.82 w/o adv

2024 Greatsword ~ 35.1 w/adv, 26 w/o adv
2024 PAM ~ 37.73 w/adv, 27.95 w/o adv
2024 Rogue ~ 26.76 w/adv, 19.82 w/o adv

And we can demonstrate that the gap HAS SHRUNK. Now, I'm not going to claim my math is perfect. I didn't account for criticals, and maybe you disagree with my base numbers, but the gap between the two most damaging fighter builds, at the height of their power and a level that "According survery made by DNDBeyond, almost no[ne]" campaigns reach is SMALLER in 2024. Not bigger.

Now, we could argue that the Rogues should get even more, that their new abilities in battlefield control are not good enough, that a rogue with no feats supporting their damage should do MORE damage than a fighter with two feats increasing their damage... but the gap has already been closed by a significant degree, by using that boring blah blah blah math you seem to think I hate.


Cycling back to the OP and Uncanny Dodging out of the maths discussion...

A few things have stuck out at me several times through these 10 pages. First, most "take advantage of Rogue abilities" examples seem to be "give the rogue a bow" / "be a sniper". Second, Expertise is either meaningless (+2 isn't enough compared to a good d20 roll), or irrelevant (can't gatekeep behind needing a Rogue in the party), or duplicated (bard also has the Expertise, or the Ranger does, or the Fighter uses Tactical Mind that one time anyone cares). Third, rogues are at best second-best at everything - but many players enjoy their time playing rogues.

I think the 1st item is an issue. Rogues should contribute meaningfully with a set of abilities that don't over-incentivize a single weapon type. We don't require someone to be a Rogue in order to use daggers, or be a Ranger to be an archer; likewise a Rogue shouldn't have to use "TWF shortswords" or "duh, bows!" to be effective.

I think the 2nd item is really the core issue. Most people here agree the Rogue's conceptual niche is/was the skill monkey. But with the aforementioned skill issues in play, the niche isn't a niche. If degrees of success mattered, then maybe an extra +2 to +4 would be more impactful; or if the dice being used were different (multiple dice - even 2d10 instead of 1d20 can make extra bonuses vastly more interesting). For example, replace skill check d20s with 3d6. Now generally only a skilled person can achieve a 20+ at all. Or, like Pathfinder, gatekeep certain results behind skill level not total bonus. I love this, and try to soft-implement it in all my games. The +4 DEX Fighter is good at hiding behind walls (+4 to Stealth checks, untrained), but even the most novice Rogue (+0 DEX, +1 skill, TRAINED) is better at tailing someone (Stealth check, MUST BE TRAINED or better). But again -- we (5e) are trying not to penalize the party for not having a specific class...
... my answer to that is "wtf not?" Someone else used the example "you can't put a main objective behind an obstacle that requires a specific cleric spell to be cast"... to which I respond "Why not? You're stuck - go back to town and hire a cleric! Or buy a scroll. Or come up with some other creative solution." So if the rogue has more skills, and is better at them, then having one in the party minimizes your need to go back and acquire the missing "key".

I really liked D&D's only attempt at this in a previous edition: anyone can (try to) disarm a mundane trap, but you need a Rogue to disarm a magical one. [Even then, along comes the wizard with dispel magic.]

Making level of skill and value of bonus would go miles towards putting the Rogue back into the niche. Even if the bard has the same Expertise, the Rogue's class abilities should make the skills better in her hands. Even if the wizard is using knock and invisibility, the Rogue's class abilities should make her lockpicks and stealth better.

(I also loved the idea to give the rogue more ways to apply their skills in combat. I'd caution against the dangerous Battlemaster-style 5e mindset ["Since Trip is a battlemaster ability, I guess you can't trip without being a battlemaster!"] But I'd love to see combat tricks and techniques that take their out-of-combat skill and apply it creatively in combat. And yes, the 5e subclasses do this a little, but more can be done in this area. Laserllama's Maneuvers for martials, or Pathfinder's feint and demoralize actions, players just asking to errol-flynn-chandelier-ride across the field... all good starts.)

The third point: second at everything, and yet, somehow, fun to play. I just responded to the Gish thread, where I said "I'm fine being +5 at this, and +5 at that, where the specialist in each is +7", because I have fun being able to do both. Can it be grating to never be the best? Yes. [Someone earlier mentioned that all other classes have that moment where they an go/be OP.] Can you have fun being part of everything, because you have something to contribute all the time? Yes!

And all maths aside.... the glory of a Critical Hit with a Sneak Attack (depending on the rules are your table)... That's the moment the rogue player feels his 15 seconds of fame. It doesn't matter that the Fighter is doing 30 damage every round and the rogue is doing 11.5 at that one sweet moment when the rogue player delivers the 60-pt critical hit and kills the BBEG before it can run/heal/hide!


Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I'm not familiar with the proposed changes to Rogues in the various UA's, but based on the current released state, Rogues need more damage.

They got Weapon Mastery, Steady Aim built-in (advantage as long as you don't move), Cunning Strike (trade d6 of sneak attack dice for disarm, poison, trip, or move half-speed without opportunity attack as part of your attack, or at higher levels some more sneak attack dice for daze, knock out, or blind), and a better capstone. Improved the subclasses, particularly the Assassin.


Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I've read this thread, and I am baffled what game you guys are playing.

I've played in adventurers league for quite a while, and at least two private games with sometimes three games, for a decade. I have over a decade of experience with 5e both as a player and DM, in person and online, playing from the early playtest to today. I've played a very meaningful portion of the published WOTC adventures, including DDAL adventures.

The idea that the published adventures don't include exploration as a very meaningful aspect is sheer, utter and complete nonsense!

The idea they don't include traps, climbing things, picking locks. sneaking, and all the things Rogues do well is sheer, utter and complete nonsense!

The published adventures are not hack fests which are almost entirely about combat and set pieces. In fact, relative to the edition which came before (and arguably the edition which came before that), 5e published adventures have less combat and fewer set pieces.

So, what the heck have you guys been playing? Or, I think more likely, what nonsense have you been reading about the published adventures which led you to draw the false conclusions you drew about those adventures you didn't play or read beyond a very small skewed sample?


I've read this thread, and I am baffled what game you guys are playing.

So, what the heck have you guys been playing? Or, I think more likely, what nonsense have you been reading about the published adventures which led you to draw the false conclusions you drew about those adventures you didn't play or read beyond a very small skewed sample?
For starters, not playing or reading published adventures. Running my own homebrew campaigns entirely. (Not even "repurposing" pieces.) So this is partially informed by my own struggles with balancing skill checks - especially lockpicking! - and multiple characters having exceptional skills. There are two Rogues in my campaign, actually, a Rogue (Inquisitive) 6 / Druid 2, and a Battlemaster 3 / Arcane Trickster 5, as well as a Bard. Skill checks that challenge the Warlock and Cleric are generally insignificant to the other three. And it can be any of the other three, as they all have proficiency with lockpicks - heck, the Warlock just picked up thieves' tools last level with the Skilled feat, so 4 out of 5 of my PCs can pop locks! But the Warlock is +4 at the skill while the Rogue is +12 (2pts from specialty picks)... even on a d20, that means either the lock is ignored, or the warlock's proficiency is irrelevant. Most of the time, I just "emphasis roll" to see how long and if any complications came up.

Likewise, Traps are either lethal, or a moment's bother. Social skills the bard handles (even though the rogue has expertise in Persuasion!), or the warlock (with disguise self and CHA 20). Wilderness activities the rogue is involved in... because she has druid levels; otherwise the fighter/rogue outclasses her with magic and BM skill manoeuvres. and in combat, well, the Rogue is a sniper; she was shocked last session when she actually took damage in combat for the first time since anyone could remember. [To be more accurate, "took more than 5 pts of damage".]

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads